What Is the Evidence of Salvation?

  • John MacArthur Grace to You
  • 2022 12 Aug
What Is the Evidence of Salvation?

Is There Evidence of Salvation?

In their zeal to eliminate good works as a requirement for salvation, some have argued that good works are not even valid evidence of salvation. They teach that a person may be genuinely saved yet never manifest the fruit of salvation—a changed life.

A few have even taken the absurd position that a born-again person may ultimately turn away from Christ into unbelief, deny God, and become an atheist—yet still possess eternal life. One writer invented a term for such people: "unbelieving believers"!

Scripture is clear that a saved person can never be lost. It is equally clear that a genuine Christian will never fall back into total unbelief. That kind of apostasy proves an individual was never really born again (1 John 2:19).

Furthermore, if a person is genuinely saved, his life will change for the better (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is saved "for good works" (Ephesians 2:10), and there is no way he can fail to bring forth at least some of the fruit that characterizes the redeemed (cf. Matthew 7:17). His desires are transformed; he begins to hate sin and love righteousness. He will not be sinless, but the pattern of his life will be decreasing sin and increasing righteousness. 

Salvation in the Bible

James 2:20-24

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Titus 3:8

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

Titus 3:14

And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

Romans 10:9

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Acts 4:12

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Acts 16:30-33 

Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Imges Plus/Thomas Bullock


Answer excerpted from Getting the Gospel Right by John MacArthur.  © Copyright 2006 by Grace to You. All rights reserved. Click here to see the article in its entirety.